Chewin’ The Fat (BBC Radio Scotland, 1997-1998)
This is a radio comedy show that was rather popular north of the border in the late-90s. There went on to be some successful TV spin-offs from this, which is where I came across this for the first time. Having enjoyed this, I was pleased when some episodes from the original series were repeated on BBC7/BBC Radio 4 Extra, although I can’t remember this being repeated on that station within the past decade or so.
Chewin’ The Fat starred the comedy duo Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill. The first series was an hour long and went out on BBC Radio Scotland in a summer Saturday Afternoon slot when there was no football. The second and third series were shortened to half-an-hour, and Karen Dunbar joined the cast. Some episodes from these later series were the ones that were repeated.
I recognised the opening theme, I’m sure that it wasn’t made for the show because I’d heard it used on one or two other TV shows before this, but I did enjoy the way that Ford and Greg liked to begin by humming along to it. The idea was that they would discuss what was happening in the news, along with anything else that was on their minds (this idea continued into the first series of the TV version, but then it was dropped, meaning that the show’s title for the later series made no sense).
I remember one edition from the summer of ’98 where they discussed Scotland’s disappointing performance at that year’s World Cup, and expressed their frustration that unlike all of the other home nations, they have never been able to progress past the first round of the tournament. They also performed a few sketches. I remember that at least one of two of these were recycled for some of the early episodes of the TV version which were rather amusing.
Unfortunately, I don’t remember if the radio version featured Jack and Victor, who would turn out to be their most popular characters. They featured in the TV version before going off to the long-running spin-off sitcom Still Game. I was pleased to finally hear some of the radio episodes of Chewin’ The Fat for myself, although there don’t seem to be many clips online from them.